From $25.99 and £110 a dozen in bond
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I'm just back from a week tasting the sort of 2008 burgundies that are rarely shown in the en primeur burgundy tastings that crowd a January week in London to such an extent that, even sharing the tastings between us, Julia and I are usually absolutely exhausted by the end of it. (Five big merchants' tastings in one day? Seems crazy to me, but they are all scared they'll miss out on the orders if their tasting takes place after The Week.) You may have read some of my comments and seen some of my images from Burgundy last week on Twitter at the bottom of our home page.
We will of course be reporting on the vintage in detail and publishing our amalgamated notes in January. And since few of these wines are in bottle, there is not too much urgency about placing your orders - if you decide it's a vintage that interests you, that is.
But there was one producer last week whose wines really stood out for me and, since his wines are made in strictly limited quantities and some of them are already in the marketplace, I thought I would draw them to your attention. I wrote a profile of Marc Colin's son Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey in March 2008, and the wines under his négociant label, for which he grows two-thirds of the grapes himself, seem to go from strength to strength.
I was enchanted by his 2008s, although he says of them, 'it's a vintage I didn't understand at first. The 2009 will be rich, 2007 very pure, and 2008 was at first a mystery. But after a few months of élevage, every time I came back to it, it was a good surprise. Especially if you like fresh, pure wines. In the end the 2008s are not so far from 2007s. For customers it will be a very good surprise if they like this sort of wine, even though no-one is talking about 2008s. The challenge was to keep them pure, not to work them, hurry them, or make them richer with, for example, bâtonnage, a warm cellar or a late harvest'.
His Bourgogne Blanc, Pernand and St-Aubins have been in bottle since the end of August and were tasting beautifully. I came chez Pierre-Yves (see video) straight from the cellars of Domaine Leflaive and found myself liking his Bourgogne Blanc as much as his Pernand, and comparing his St-Aubins La Chatenière and En Remilly to Puligny- and Chevalier-Montrachet respectively. The moon must have been in the right place.
Anyway, I heartily recommend Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey 2008 Bourgogne Blanc, currently on sale from UK importer A&B Vintners for £110 a handsome dozen in bond (the label shown is for 2006, of course). I gave it a cautious score of 16.5 and would recommend drinking it over the next four years. Half the fruit comes from Puligny and half from St-Aubin. It has wonderfully rich yet bright fruit on the palate with satisfying depth and admirable freshness and precision.The wine is just 12% alcohol and he believes 13.5% is too potent for white burgundy, that it encourages the wine to age too fast.
For the first time in 2008 he suppressed the malolactic fermentation in around 20% of each cuvée, which is brave considering how high malic acid was that year. He claims the wines seemed less lively and riper after the malo - but while so many other producers suffered from inconveniently late malos (many 2008s, reds and whites, have yet to complete them), his took place as usual between March and May.
Fans of pure white savoury burgundy are encouraged to try these wines, imported into the US by Michael Skurnik and Atherton, but practically unknown in France itself.
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